Superleggera is an automobile construction technology used in Italy from the middle of the 20th century. The name means "super light" in Italian, and was patented in 1937 by the Italian coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Touring. Unlike the monocoque and body-on-frame methods widely adopted by the 1950s, Superleggera cars use a frame of metal tubes as a full-body frame which closely follow the shape of the car. These are then covered with body panels, made of aluminium. The Superleggera frame tubes are too small and of unsuitable material for mounting suspension components. This distinguishes it very clearly from spaceframe construction where no separate chassis is required.
The Superleggera construction method was primarily based on the use of 'Duraluminium', which originated from the aeronautic industry just before WW II. Carrozzeria Touring sold a Superleggera license to Aston Martin, who used it for their DB4, 5 and 6 models. This construction technique is no longer used in volume production cars today, but it is sometimes still found in low-volume and hand-built sports models.
Notable superleggera models include:
- Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia
- Aston Martin DB4 and DB5
- Pegaso Z-102
- Ferraris 166, 195, 212 and 340 models
- Lamborghini 350GTV
- Lancia Flaminia Convertible
- BMW 328 Touring Roadster